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Brady ruled out Patriots return on night of Kraft meeting – theScore

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Tom Brady mentally cut the cord on the New England Patriots two days before he agreed in principal to a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It was really the night that I stopped by and spoke with (owner) Mr. (Robert) Kraft,” he said Tuesday on his introductory conference call, according to CBS Boston’s Michael Hurley. “And we spoke and we had a great conversation. And I just wanted to express what he’s meant to me in my life, and we spoke with coach Belichick at the same time. We were at different locations and we talked to him. It was a great conversation. Got a chance to talk to Jonathan Kraft as well. All three of those guys have been involved in so many important decisions in my life, career-related, personal-related.”

After 20 seasons and six Super Bowl championships in New England, Brady officially took his talents to Tampa on March 20, inking a two-year contract that reportedly contains $50 million guaranteed.

The quarterback posted a statement on social media the morning after he met with Kraft, announcing he wouldn’t return to the Patriots.

Characteristically, Brady was otherwise mum when asked about his exit from New England.

“I don’t want to talk about the past because that’s not relevant to what’s important in my future and what’s going on this offseason for me,” he said.

The 42-year-old did note he wasn’t disappointed the Patriots didn’t try harder to keep him.

“There’s nobody who’s been a greater fan of the Patriots than me,” he said. “I have nothing but total respect and love. I’m so grateful to Mr. Kraft, and the organization, and coach Belichick and all the coaches and obviously all of my teammates.”

When asked about Kraft, who suggested after the departure that Brady left Foxborough on his own volition, Brady said he’s “not responsible” for those comments.

“I think Mr. Kraft has been a great influence in my life and I’m so grateful for the two decades and I referenced that the other day – it’s been an amazing thing for my family,” he said.

Brady left the Patriots as the winningest quarterback in NFL history.

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Report: Trump hopes to have fans back at sports games by end of summer – Sportsnet.ca

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U.S. President Donald Trump told major-league sports commissioners on a call Saturday afternoon that he hoped to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski.

Trump reportedly also said he believes the NFL season “should start on time in September.”

The call included 13 league commissioners, among them the NHL’s Gary Bettman, NBA’s Adam Silver, MLB’s Rob Manfred and NFL’s Roger Goodell.

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere tweeted a statement following the completion of Trump’s call.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters later Saturday that he doesn’t anticipate sports being played with fans in the stands by September in his state, contrary to Trump’s reported comments.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the plan for the call was “to discuss charitable contributions and how the leagues would help those dealing with coronavirus.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought most of the sports world to a halt for the last three weeks, as only White’s UFC and MacMahon’s WWE are the only organizations still hosting events.

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Kobe, Duncan, Garnett headline 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame class – TSN

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Kobe Bryant was already immortal. Now he’s officially a Hall of Famer as well.

And he’s got plenty of elite company in the 2020 class.

Bryant and fellow NBA greats Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett headlined a nine-person group announced Saturday as this year’s class of enshrinees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

They all got into the Hall in their first year of eligibility, as did WNBA great Tamika Catchings. Two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich finally got his call, as did longtime Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, 1,000-game winner Barbara Stevens of Bentley and three-time Final Four coach Eddie Sutton.

They were the eight finalists who were announced in February, and the panel of 24 voters who were tasked to decide who merited selection wound up choosing them all. Also headed to the Hall this year: former FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann, selected as a direct-elect by the international committee.

“He was the head of FIBA and this was a way to honour him,” Colangelo said. “It was a special thing done through that committee.”

Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, about three weeks before the Hall of Fame said — as if there was going to be any doubt — that he was a finalist. Duncan and Garnett were also widely perceived to be locks to be part of this class; they were both 15-time NBA All-Stars, and Bryant was an 18-time selection.

Bryant was also a five-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, just as Duncan was with the San Antonio Spurs.

“This is an incredibly special class, for many reasons,” Hall of Fame Chairman and enshrinee Jerry Colangelo said.

Catchings was a 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medallist . Tomjanovich, who had overwhelming support from NBA peers who couldn’t understand why it took so long for his selection, was a five-time All-Star as a player, guided Houston to back-to-back titles and took the 2000 U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal.

Mulkey has three NCAA titles as a coach, won two others as a player and had Baylor in position to vie for another championship this season had the global coronavirus pandemic not forced the shutdown of virtually every sport around the globe. Stevens has coached for 43 years and is a five-time Division II coach of the year. Sutton won more than 800 games in nearly four decades, and Baumann was one of the most powerful voices in international basketball until his death in 2018.

The enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts, is scheduled for Aug. 29. Should the pandemic force a delay, there is a tentative plan for an October ceremony as well.

For this year, largely because of the star power of this class, the Hall chose to enact a one-year suspension of direct elections from the Veteran’s, Women’s Veteran’s, Early African-American Pioneers and Contributors categories.

With Bryant, Duncan and Garnett as perhaps the top NBA trio to ever enter simultaneously, the Hall wanted to make sure that no enshrinee would be overlooked.

“We didn’t need to water it down,” Colangelo said. “Next year is another year for many.”

___

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Nelson, Fimis taken No. 1 and 2 in OHL Draft – TSN

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TORONTO — Teammates Ty Nelson and Pano Fimis were the top two picks in the Ontario Hockey League’s Priority Selection Draft.

Nelson, a 16-year-old defenceman from the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens, was announced by the North Bay Battalion as the first overall pick on Friday, the night before the OHL draft formally began.

Fimis, a centre with the GTHL’s Jr. Canadiens, was taken second overall on Saturday morning by the Niagara IceDogs.

North Bay had the first overall pick when the season was cancelled on March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nelson led all GTHL defencemen in regular-season scoring with 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) over 33 games. He then posted a league-best 12 points over 11 playoff contests as he helped lead the Jr. Canadiens to the league title.

Fimis had 14 goals and 28 assists in 32 games for the Jr. Canadiens. Three more centres were taken after Fimis on Saturday.

Maxim Namestnikov was selected third by the Sarnia Sting, Bryce McConnell-Barker was picked fourth by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and the Kingston Frontenacs made Paul Ludwinski the fifth overall pick.

Namestnikov is the younger brother of Colorado Avalanche forward Vladislav Namestnikov. The younger Namestnikov had 53 goals and 75 assists in 59 games for the midget Honeybaked U15 team, then had 12 goals and 11 assists in 13 games for the same team in the High Performance Hockey League.

Defenceman Jorian Donovan, the son of former NHLer Shean Donovan, was taken sixth overall by the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Highly touted prospect Adam Fantilli went 18th overall to the Saginaw Spirit.

Fantilli, is a six-foot-two 181-pound centre who spent 2019-20 with Kimball Union Academy — a US high school prep program based in Plainfield, N.H — who had already committed to the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel on March 25.

That means it’s very unlikely the Toronto native comes back north while allowing him to keep the NCAA route open when he turns 18.

The Priority Selection has been held online every year since 2001. However, this year teams worked remotely and adhered to all government and public health guidelines on physical distancing when selecting the 2004-born skaters.

Team staff were not allowed to work the draft from their hockey offices or arenas and made their announcements through a conference call, most often from home.

Players were not permitted to enter into league offices for introductions and sweaters on draft day. They also weren’t allowed to meet their new fans and interviews were out of the question.

The OHL also reminded prospects and their families that the province of Ontario has prohibited organized public gatherings and social gatherings of more than five people, keeping celebratory groups tight, while American-based OHL teams are following the rules set in place by their state.

The Western Hockey League Bantam Draft is scheduled for April 22 while the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft goes June 6.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 4, 2020.

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